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INDOT To Spend $70M On Tippecanoe County Roads, Bridges

Stan Jastrzebski

Gov. Eric Holcomb rolled out a regionally-specific portion of the state’s five-year infrastructure plan Thursday during a stop in West Lafayette. The governor and INDOT officials say interstates and bridges will be hit hardest with orange barrels.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness says one of the big priorities is adding lanes to I-65 and I-70 – he says he’d like to see a minimum of three lanes run each direction.

McGuinness says overpasses are also targeted in the plan.

“As we’re inspecting these bridges, there’s a lot of aging infrastructure out there that we’ve got to take care of and preserve and maintain. The Sagamore Parkway Bridge right here over the Wabash River is a perfect example of that,” McGuinness says. “An old bridge that needed to be rehabbed -- now that’ll be set in place, it’ll be there for 50 or 75 years before it needs any significant repairs.”

About 10,000 miles of pavement is set to be resurfaced around the state, along with repairing or replacing 1,300 bridges.

The infrastructure program spans a total 20 years. The first five-year stage costs nearly $5 billion.

Though the state plans to raise and spend more than $20 billion from this year’s infrastructure bill, it won’t prioritize new projects – only about 100 miles will be built, compared to more than 9-thousand resurfaced.

Instead, it’ll be a mix of repairs and preventive care designed merely to keep existing investment from falling apart, as happened with a bridge collapse on Interstate 65 two summers ago.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis says the improvements will help his city’s accessibility.

“If you can’t get trucks to businesses, and if you can’t get people from Point A to Point B quickly and efficiently, that’s sort of a dark mark on the efficiency side of the chart,” Dennis says. “So for us, yes, it’s all great news and it really does help us market our community and bring people here from all around the world.”

The priciest Tippecanoe County projects on the list include paving sections of US 52 east of 231, new asphalt overlay on I-65 north of State Road 43 and rehabilitating State Road 28 east of the town of Romney.